Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Battles For Calgary Northeast and Edmonton - Sherwood Park

Calgary Northeast

For its short 20-year history, this riding has been coloured blue on the electoral map. Tucked away in the North-Easternmost section of the city, the imaginatively-named riding was represented first by Alex Kindy, and since 1993 by former cop Art Hanger, who squeaked by in 2006 with only 65% of the votes cast, for a paltry 18,000 vote win over the Liberal candidate. Hanger is retiring, and not seeking re-election. The riding has a voter participation problem, averaging 50% (or LESS, in some elections) of eligible voters bothering to turn up and mark an "x". The riding includes a high number of foreign-born voters, and both provincially and municipally is notorious for ethnic politics and electoral shenanigans.

As of press time, there were only 3 registered candidates in Calgary Northeast:
EDIT 01/10/08: Added independent Roger Richard

Devinder Shory (CPC) - Devinder Shory is a local lawyer and advocate for justice and tax reform (both big issues in the local community). He's involved in many community initiatives, and won the Tory nomination this past February in a hotly-contested battle. The father of 3 has moved his elderly parents into the family home, and if they're anything like the POES (Parents Of Enlightened Savage), would probably very much appreciate the chance to get out of town and work in Ottawa. This was an extremely solid riding for Art Hanger, but he carried it as much on personality as on party loyalty. It will be interesting to see if Shory can duplicate Art's past success.

Sanam Kang (Lib) - Sanam Kang is a recent addition to this race, taking over the Liberal Party nomination just a month ago after the previously nominated candidate stepped aside earlier this year. A local businessman, Kang identifies education as one of his top priorities. Kang is backed by the same team that delivered the provincial riding of Calgary McCall into Liberal hands in Alberta's recent provincial election. The Liberals typically poll between 20 and 25% in this riding, but still flushed from the provincial victory earlier this year, can Team Kang win this riding for the born-and-raised Calgarian? Unlikely... but in Calgary Northeast, FAR from impossible.

Vinay Dey (NDP) - Vinay Dey was nominated in August to carry the NDP banner into this traditionally hostile riding. With the NDP averaging less than 8% support in Calgary Northeast for most of the past 20 years, Dey is hoping (like his leader) to capitalize on the perceived hunger for "change" in the country and in this riding. He was the subject of a feature in MacLean's magazine in 2003. Vinay is the President of the National Indo-Canadian Council, and is a veteran candidate for the NDP, having run for them in 3 provincial contests and in the 2004 federal election (in Calgary - Nose Hill). (h/t to daveberta)

Roger Richard (Ind.) - Roger Richard got into the race in Calgary Northeast at the behest of disgruntled Conservative Party members, who felt that some shenanigans had gone on in the riding's nomination process. Richard has been a lightning rod for controversy in the campaign thus far, with the most recent news being that he has been ordered to modify his campaign literature, which was deemed too similar to that of Conservative Party candidate Devinder Shory. Roger ran unsuccessfully for the PC's in Calgary East in both 1997 (2nd place) and 2000 (3rd place), and has stated publicly that he would sit as a member of the Conservative Party caucus if elected. An e-mail from myself to him was not returned.

Take a look at: Devinder Shory. He's young and enthusiastic, but running against an experienced opponent from one party, and a hot hand from the other - rookie mistakes can be deadly in a riding like this. There's also been talk of funding issues within his campaign. He'll either take the riding by storm, or flame out gloriously.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park

A riding on the far Northeast fringes of Alberta's OTHER big city, ESP is a suburban riding which includes the city of Fort Saskatchewan. Sharing even more in common with it's southern neighbour of Calgary Northeast, this riding voted a measly 64% for the Conservative candidate in 2006 (Ken Epp), who is retiring and not running in this election. Liberal support in the riding is traditionally around 20% and focused within Edmonton Proper, but was down in 2006. Voter turn-out overall tends to run a little northwards of 60%. Average household income is a shade over $100,000 per year, so the average voter here isn't RICH, but they're not doing too badly, either.

Tim Uppal (CPC) - Uppal is a young (34) veteran of the political scene. Twice defeated in federal elections by David Kilgour, Uppal lost the Tory nomination race in the riding of Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont in 2006, and is taking another shot at it in this traditional Tory stronghold. The former Residential Mortgage Manager is a party insider, and was named the Outstanding Young Edmontonian for 2005 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He has taken his campaign to Facebook, and at press time had nearly 300 supporters there. This is a solid Tory riding, so Uppal shouldn't have TOO much to worry about - but then again, you can only lose so many times before the stink becomes too heavy to wash away.

James Ford(Ind) - James "Jimmy" Ford is an independent candidate, and like all independents he faces a tough task. That said, he's clearly a passionate and engaged citizen, whose website forsakes a lot of the flashy "style" points (fancy graphics, etc.) that you can't really afford when you're running against campaigns with $50,000 budgets. The private management consultant is running as an "Independent conservative", so clearly he knows what the riding's history is. He's got a list of community involvement that blows the mind. Ford's candidacy stems from a dissatisfaction with the nominating rules in place for the Conservatives that saw Uppal win the nomination. He feels (and who can blame him?) that "6 months residency - no citizenship required" is a pretty questionable minimum requirement to nominate a candidate for MP.

Rick Szostak (Lib) - Rick Szostak is a Professor at the University of Alberta, and holds a PhD from Northwestern University in Economics (but really, who doesn't?). Szostak, who knows a little something about economics, suggests that Alberta should lead the world in the development of environmentally friendly technology, so best make use of our natural and intellectual resources to strengthen our, and therefore Canada's, economy. Doesn't sound like a raging socialist. As I said, the riding itself tends to support the Libs at around 20%, but there's a big chunk of voters that stay home on polling day. Rick's task is to get enough of them to come out that he can capitalize on the introduction of a new Tory candidate, and try to turn this riding Red for the first time in its history.

Take a look at: Tim Uppal. Either this is the election where he finally gets over the hump, or it's the straw that breaks the camel's back, and sends him permanently into the party's back-rooms. The party already has great organization in this riding, but how many of those hard-core supporters left with Epp?


Kabootar said...

Roger Richard just announced as an independent Conservative candidate for Calgary Northeast.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the Green candidate as well as NDP candidate Brian LaBelle who has publicly pledged $1000 a week of his salary to community and family support organizations in the riding if he wins a seat.

I know which "politician" I'm voting for.

Anonymous said...

The CPC won their injunction against the pretender and the sore loser.

Richard and his LPC team have to change their campaign signs.

Kabootar said...

CBC has an article re: Uppal and some issues with lawsuits. Could be that he may have some issues winning that riding given Ford's seeming popularity. had a nice post of 'three being a pattern' - ie> independent 'conservatives' challenging who they view are improperly nominated Conservatives.

Enlightened Savage said...

Raj: I'll check out the Gauntlet story. Thanks for the heads up!

- ES

Anonymous said...

Roger Richard is a Quebec liberal whose sole intent is to split the conservative vote in northeast Calgary. He is neither an alternative choice nor a viable one. If elected, I could see him crossing the floor to the liberal camp within a week of the election. If he were a conservative then he would gracefully bow out. Any other action, can be seen as a strategic positioning for the liberal candidate.

A vote for the communist party (NDP) is a vote to throw your money away.
A vote for the green party is just throwing your vote away.

"Any young person who is not a liberal, has no heart.
Any mature person who does not embrace conservativism, has no mind." Pierre Elliot Trudeau